BERLIN -- The opposition Social Democratic Party failed yesterday in an attempt to condemn the German government's widening use of military forces in world affairs.
As expected, the majority coalition in the Parliament passed a resolution approving the dispatch of an air-navy patrol to the Adriatic Sea to help monitor a United Nations embargo against Yugoslavia.
With reminders of Germany's past militarism threading their speeches, legislators debated for five hours the proper role of the country's armed forces in the post-Cold-War world.
The Social Democrats had called the extraordinary parliamentary session in Bonn in a bid to curb what they see as Chancellor Helmut Kohl's creeping expansion of the use of German military force outside the NATO defense area.
The SPD also filed a legal challenge yesterday in the federal constitutional court at Karlsruhe. The suit says that Mr. Kohl's deployment of German forces in the Adriatic violates their constitutional limits on their use.
The SPD wanted the parliamentary session to lay the groundwork for a constitutional amendment to limit the use of German military forces to non-combat peacekeeping missions under U.N. control.
The Social Democrats went along when the administration sent military doctors to Cambodia and contributed air force planes to the airlifts taking food and medicine to Sarajevo, the besieged Bosnian capital.
But they balked when Mr. Kohl sent the air-navy force to the Adriatic. The Social Democrats see Mr. Kohl as slowly widening his use of the armed forces to eventually join such U.N. combat missions as the Persian Gulf war.
Mr. Kohl's Christian Democrats argued in the debate that the patrols were less likely to be drawn into combat than the U.N. "blue helmet" peacekeepers in Bosnia or Croatia. The patrols are not stopping ships, merely observing and taking names of possible violators, they said.
Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and Defense Minister Volker Ruehe argued the government's position that a reunited Germany must do its share of the burden in international peacekeeping and peacemaking missions.
SPD leader Hans-Ulrich Klose decried sending even the token force to Adriatic.
He also demanded that the government take in more refugees fleeing the fighting.